Infant-Sleep Deaths in Focus in Fight Over Role of Consumer-Safety Agency

WASHINGTON—Earlier this year, a parent in New York filed a complaint with the government’s consumer-product watchdog about a controversial type of baby bed. A napping six-month-old sleeping in it had rolled over, stopped breathing and died. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received reports of at least 30 deaths and more than 700 injuries since 2005 in connection with these inclined sleepers, which angle a baby so its head is elevated. More than half the reported deaths—16—occurred sin

U.S. Manufacturers Push FTC to Crack Down on False ‘Made in America’ Labels

WASHINGTON—Manufacturers of U.S.-made products, hoping to capitalize on President Trump’s aggressive stance on China, are calling for tougher action against companies that make bogus “Made in the USA” claims. The Alliance for American Manufacturing wants the Federal Trade Commission to get companies to pay restitution, or at least admit fault, the first time they falsely label products as American-made. The FTC’s longstanding policy has been to only seek money after a second violation.

Global Postal System Fast-Tracks Rate Review Following U.S. Gripe

WASHINGTON—A Trump administration threat to pull out of a global mail system over its discounted shipping rates from China could spur a change in those rates as early as April, the head of the United Nations agency that oversees the system said. The U.S. last week started a yearlong process to withdraw from the 144-year-old Universal Postal Union because it had failed to eliminate international discounts. Those discounts, aimed at helping developing countries, have continued to apply to China e

No More Mail Privilege for China as U.S. to End Deep Discounts on Packages

WASHINGTON—The U.S. opened a new front in its mounting economic conflict with China, starting a process to withdraw from a 144-year-old international postal body whose discounts allow Chinese merchants to ship small packages to U.S. customers at sharply lower rates. In announcing the move by the State Department, senior White House officials said Wednesday that the U.S. will go ahead with a threat to set its own “self-declared” rates for packages from abroad.

Chemical-Safety Board Is Cutting Back Under Trump

WASHINGTON—Three days after a Sunoco pipeline in Texas caught fire during welding work in 2016, a tiny government agency called the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board dispatched a team to investigate. But its findings about the incident—in which seven workers suffered severe burns—are shaping up differently under President Trump than under President Obama, according to people familiar with the agency under both administrations. The team originally drafted a report recommending

In a Twist, Marijuana Group Wants More Rules

Industry rarely calls out for more regulation, but a new marijuana startup sees creating nationally standardized rules as key to the future of the pot business. The National Association of Cannabis Businesses wants to help its members—numbering about 30 so far—navigate balkanized rules from states, counties and cities by providing the closest thing it can to unified national regulation, even as pot remains illegal at the federal level.

New Law Targets Sex Trafficking. It Could Also Hit Online Dating

WASHINGTON—The booming business of online dating faces new risks from a law designed to prevent sex trafficking and prostitution. The law, which holds digital platforms responsible for encouraging such illicit behavior, is creating uncertainty about liability across social media. At least six sites known to be regularly used by prostitutes have shut down in the U.S. since the law went into effect, and some worry that could drive the pay-for-sex market to legitimate dating platforms.

EPA Wants New Rules to Rely Solely on Public Data

WASHINGTON—The Environmental Protection Agency plans to restrict research used in developing regulations, the agency said Tuesday, a change that could affect rules governing everything from household products to power-plant emissions. The proposal follows years of complaints by conservatives that regulations such as emissions restrictions under the Obama administration sometimes went beyond what science could prove. The new proposal would exclude the many research studies that don’t make their

You Weren’t Born in 1905? Why People Lie to Facebook

WASHINGTON—When news of an enormous Facebook breach broke last month, Chris Wellens couldn’t help feeling a little smug. After all, nearly all the information the technology executive had given the social media giant was false. Consumers, wary of how their information is being used, lie about everything from names to birth dates to professions when companies ask for personal details online. Some are worried about identity theft, some just want to protect their privacy and some hope to fool adve

Amazon, Despite Trump Criticism, Really Delivers for the Postal Service

WASHINGTON—A presidential tweet Thursday suggested Amazon Inc. is exploiting the public mail system for its own gain. The company has benefited from the U.S. Postal Service’s cheap and vast delivery network, but the online retail giant also has bolstered the agency’s struggling operations. The Trump administration and Congress have also been slow to fill senior leadership positions at the Postal Service and to push forward with legislation that could address the service’s financial difficulties

Artificial Intelligence Rules More of Your Life. Who Rules AI?

WASHINGTON—Technology companies are racing to get ahead of regulators to shape the future of artificial intelligence as it moves deeper into our daily lives. Companies are already working artificial intelligence, or AI, into their business models, but the technology remains controversial. So IBM Corp., Intel Corp. and associations representing Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit are seeking to set ethical standards, or a sort of code of conduct, through alliances with futu

U.S. Companies Brace for Wider Scrutiny of Chinese Deals

WASHINGTON—Lawmakers are moving to stanch the flow of U.S. technology to foreign investors, creating potential problems for a number of American companies that have bet big on partnering with China. The Senate and House, with the backing of the White House, are working on bipartisan legislation to broaden the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a multi-agency body that has oversight of deals that could lead to the transfer of sensitive technology to rival countries. Th

Trump’s Pick to Oversee Chemical Safety at EPA May Be in Trouble in Senate

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump’s pick to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency may be in trouble in the Senate, as two Republicans have declared their opposition and a third said she is leaning against the nominee. Michael Dourson, a toxicologist tapped to head the EPA’s office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, has been one of the agency’s most controversial nominees because of his work as a consultant to the chemical industry. Democrats and environmentali

Trump Administration Drops Tighter Rules on Meatpackers

The Trump administration Tuesday reversed efforts to make it easier for livestock farmers to challenge meatpackers over pricing and allegations of uncompetitive practices. Some farmers complained for years that big meat companies enjoyed excessive control over farmers’ livelihoods by leveraging their broad influence over pricing and supplies needed to raise poultry and livestock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in December outlined the new rules that would have made it easier for farmers to

Islamic State in Africa Tries to Lure Members From al-Shabaab

NAIROBI, Kenya—Islamic State’s push to co-opt one of Africa’s deadliest jihadist movements has come with an attempt to present a softer face to potential recruits. Over the past year, the jihadist group also known as ISIS and Daesh has launched a broad recruitment campaign across Somalia to pry foot soldiers and senior operatives from al-Shabaab, a two-decade-old insurgency allied with al Qaeda that has made it very clear they have no desire to switch franchises. Stung by battlefield losses to

Peaceful Protest Emerges Amid Congo’s Violence

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo—Election delays and deadly clashes threaten to plunge this resource-rich country the size of Western Europe back into civil war, but have also given rise to peaceful activism in the country’s most violent region. In eastern Congo, which was at the epicenter of a brutal 1998-2002 conflict and where suspected rebels killed at least 36 people late Saturday, this new wave of peaceful youth activism...

Migrants, Refugees Land at an African Way Station

OBOCK, Djibouti—Nestled on a stretch of coastline where Africa’s Horn faces the Arabian peninsula, this dusty seaside town has earned a dubious distinction over the past year, becoming one of the few places where refugees fleeing war pass economic migrants speeding the opposite direction—straight into the firefight. By day, ships carrying scores of Yemeni refugees from conflict between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government dock at Obock’s small port. After dark, African migrants pile int
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